Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Haitian and the False Teacher

It's a beautiful morning, gonna be hot today. Already hot in my house :)
We've got our Haitian brother, Andi, back living with us.  He's doing good, seems to be in good spirits.
This morning during our bible study he mentioned something that really concerned me, and it's not right to let it go.
I don't know if you know, but we've gone through a few books of the bible with Andi, and right now we happen to be in Matthew 14, where Jesus feeds the 5000+ and walks on water.
Andi told me that while he was away from us, a man spent one day from 11 am to 7pm one day talking to him about his own personal denomination and why it's 'better'.  Then came the part that needs to be addressed.  
Andi said that this man told him that there were no actual miracles in the bible. 
The examples he used were these three:
1. When Jesus spat in the dirt, made mud, and put it on the blind man's eyes - the man said that it wasn't Jesus healing him, but that the dirt and mud did something.
2. When Jesus fed the 5000, (The scripture we're currently studying) - the man said it wasn't a miracle, just an example of sharing.
3. When Jesus walked on water (also scripture we're currently studying) - the man said he didn't really walk on the water, he was walking along the sand.

I'm sorry, but this doesn't fly with me, and it shouldn't fly with any Christian.  If you choose to discount the miracles of Christ, you're telling me one of two things, either Jesus and the Word of God is filled with lies, or this individual is a liar.  In Matthew 9:5, Jesus dealt with a very similar issue, teachers of the law calling Him a blasphemer because he healed a man. 
"Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven', or to say, 'Get up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." 

Christ did the harder thing first, forgiving the man of his sins.  Then he proved his authority, by healing that same man, doing the easier thing second.  Anyone spreading the false teaching that Jesus did not perform miracles is in essence saying that He has no authority.  I'd list every miracle in the bible if it were necessary, but I assume there is no need.  If any of you can do something so simple as to turn your glass of water into wine, I'll shut up.....actually, no I wouldn't.

I hold Jesus Christ at his word, and the Bible as the inspired Word of God.  Truth.
I therefore hold anyone who preaches that there were no miracles to be a great teacher of the law, a liar, and flat out.  That person needs discipleship and correction, and that teaching needs to be rebuked.

As it is, we spent the morning sending those lies exactly to the place they belong, which is straight to Hell.  Andi Gedna knows 'better', because he has the truth given to him by the Holy Spirit.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Whatever it Takes

I'm hoping to go down to Haiti ahead of my family at the end of August or the beginning of September.  My wife will be coming with the kids either in late September or early October, depending on how quickly I can get things set up for them to come.
She was extremely nervous of the idea of coming with just her and the kids, and understandably so.  My plan is somehow to meet her in Port when they come, and get them across Haiti safely.  I don't have any transportation lined up for that yet, but I was hoping to arrange that once I was there. I'm hoping to maybe even buy something once I'm there to get us around.
I don't think she's at a place right now to be able to come without me from Port, but I think if I'm already there and I can meet her at the gate in Port, then she'll feel better and it will be easier for her and kids.

We are going through a difficult spiritual warfare right now. 
Last night we met several people for a friend's birthday party, and the usual questions began about moving to Haiti, of which there are no sound answers but to trust in the Lord.  I think I'm a bit thicker-skinned and used to seeing the troubled, wrinkled brow that is written on the faces of people trying to understand something so foreign.... but it got to my wife.  She broke down in front of them all and began to cry, because she thought she'd be coming across Haiti without me.  I've never expected her to make that trip without me, but she assumed if I were already in Haiti she'd have to go it alone.  I didn't communicate it to her that I'd be there for her somehow.
Still, I did not console her in front of them.  I know that our strength and comfort and solace must come from Jesus, the source, and anything else is just a cheap imitation.  But I'm in a different place.  She needed that hug in front of them all, and I didn't give it.  I felt I wasn't supposed to.
I'm afraid her consolation and security might be found with me, but in my mind I know the truth, that I am nothing compared to the Lord.  I love her, I'd gladly lay down my life for her, but He loves her more than I could possibly fathom.  I fear that in some way her trust is misplaced if it's put into me.  It's like walking on thin ice.  It might hold up for a time, but eventually it gives away and shows it's frailty. 
A hug looks great in front of a group of people, and it offers a respite from her despair and the awkwardness of a very tense moment, but it doesn't give her the lasting peace that she needs.  Regardless, she needed it, and I failed her.
I have a problem of looking out into the distance.  Like racehorses pushing for the finish line, the muscles and energy are not put into the moment I'm already in, but the position I will be in.  I'm looking around the corner, focused on the turn and propelling towards the finish line.  Because of that, I find in moments like last night that I'm ill-equipped.   Like asking that racehorse to pause and pose for a picture in the winner's circle, while the battle for the finish is still raging.   

For us to be available and obedient to do what the Lord is calling us to, we have to put ourselves in His arms.
Otherwise our hope begins and ends with our own comfort, security and provision.  
But in Haiti, that could vanish in a breath. What will we be left with then, as we free-fall, pulling the rip-cord on a parachute made of thin paper.  Just as with David, as with Paul, as with Christ Himself, our encouragement and strength must come from the Source, Jehovah Jireh, the only True Provider.  Had any of them found comfort in the eyes of man they would have failed.  Even at the pinnacle of his confusion, when his men thought of stoning him, David sent for the priest to inquire of the Lord.  Christ, even as they beat him, jammed that crown of thorns down onto His head, drove the nails through his bones and flesh, spat on Him and asked Him to come down off that cross if He were truly the Son of God.... still asked His Father to forgive them, still brought the sinner hanging next to him to Paradise.  Mocked from town to town, ridiculed by his own people, by Jews who were following him wherever he went, Paul still found the joy from within prison to write the encouraging letter of Philippians, telling us he'd found the secret of being content. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  Their solace, their testament, was putting themselves in the hands of the Living God no matter how dire the circumstance. 

That's all I know to hold onto. 

I feel when I'm with these other couples that I'm standing in the midst of a dream.  It's almost surreal, as if I see them, and us, living in this illusion of safety and comfort and protection, that is really just a man-made prison that we've all locked ourselves into.  When He comes in the sky, I don't want to be sleeping, distracted by the lullaby that Satan is singing.  I feel we should be screaming.

A friend of mine asked me to put a song together with clips from Passion of the Christ for a sermon he would give.  
It was a song by Pillar, a very hard-edged, blood-curdling kind of sound, and not at all the kind of music I'd normally lend my ear to.  I could already hear my dad saying, "Son, that is not music, that's just noise." 
But it was a way of serving Him, and so I accepted the challenge of putting the torture and sacrifice of my Savior in the company of music that if I heard it on the radio, I couldn't flip the dial quick enough.

What I realized as I waded into the work was that there would be no better way to describe the resolve of what Jesus chose to do, the pain He accepted on our behalf.  It was not a pretty song.  There was nothing harmonic about what He did for us.  It was a split from anything right in this world.  The terrorism that He and those around Him experienced was beyond sanity as they entered into the realm of a crazed mob, frothing at the mouth for the ultimate destruction of His life... and this song told that story.  It put to music the raw reality of anguish, the resolve, the harshness, the barbaric chords of what Christ endured for us.  
This, my friends, is what I feel we should be shouting from the rooftops, instead of rationalizing a comfortable way of life.  Anything we do in His service, whether it makes sense in the eyes of man or not, right down to selling everything we own and moving to a foreign land to share His story... it's worth it.  
He is worth it.  Watch this video, and ask yourself if you'd rather listen to a lullaby:

Music: Pillar. Whatever it Takes
Video: Passion of the Christ

Seeing is Not Faith, But Reasoning

A South African preacher that I respect very much penned these words, and I don't think they could be any more pertinent to this day.  From Angus Buchan's book,  a Mustard Seed:

""Hebrews 11:8- and he went out, not knowing whither he went."

God reminded me again this morning in my quiet time that He always honors faith.  But we need to wait on God to get a clear Word from Him, and then to operate in faith.  When we walk in faith - the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen - it doesn't always make sense.  Two and two, in God's economy, can often equal seven.  We cannot understand how it is, but by faith we continue to walk the road that He has laid out before us.

Think of NASA, with the most brilliant mathematicians in the whole world.  They will tell you categorically that it is mathematically impossible for the bumblebee to fly.  His wings are too small and his torso is too big.  Have you never seen a bumble bee fly?  I've seen many.  That's what faith is about.  God honors faith.

I heard a beautiful saying the other day:  Waiting on God brings us to the end of our journey much faster than our feet.  To me, that means that those who wait on the Lord shall first of all renew their strength.  But secondly, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), which means that the more time you spend waiting on God, the more clearly you are going to hear direction from God.  And then you're going to operate in faith, not presumption.  There's a big difference between faith and presumption.   Presumption is something that you think God's told you.  Faith is something that you know God's told you.  It's better to wait and then to take the direction God sends you.

That's exactly what Abraham did.  That's why he was the friend of God.  Not because he was a good man, but because he obeyed the Word of the Lord. Abraham heard from God, who told him to go to an unknown destination.  Being a farmer myself, I can relate to Abraham.  He left everything he had (he was an extremely wealthy man) and he went to a destination that he didn't even know existed.  God went ahead of him and the rest of the story, as they say, is history.  That's why you (if you are a Christian) and I have our names written in the Lamb's Book of Life, because Abraham is our father. God gave Abraham favor because he obeyed God - and He will do the same for you and me today if we choose to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

A man once said to me that faith is spelled R I S K.  That's quite funny but actually the furthest from the truth.  Faith is more secure than anything else in this world; more secure than the monetary system, or your health, and more secure than all your worldly wisdom and education, because God never makes mistakes.

That great preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the 'Prince of Preachers', said at the end of his life, "By attempting less, I hope to achieve more."  What he meant was that by spending more time with God and operating in faith, he would achieve a lot more for the Lord than by just working with sweat, blood and tears and no faith.

Today, let us bring pleasure and joy to the heart of God by trusting Him and walking by faith, rather than listening to the lies of the devil and the worldly systems and getting ourselves into all kinds of financial difficulties and trouble, and ending up with fear, depression and stomach ulcers and blaming God.  Let us start asking ourselves the question, "What would Jesus do?" And then do it.  Get confirmation from God through the Bible and then move on by faith. " 

Friday, June 24, 2011

...just give them bread and water

We have a group of people who faithfully show up at our office every Wednesday morning to worship together and pray for our city. This week we were singing a song called "Hungry" and the chorus line is, "we are hungry, oh Jesus, we are hungry for more of you; we are thirsty, oh Jesus, we are thirsty for more of you. During the song I had a vision/image/impression whatever you want to call it, and in the vision I could see moms and dads, who I believe represented the shepherds of this city, standing with big bowls full of colorfully wrapped candy handing it out to kids that were running up to them hungry and eager to eat whatever was in the bowl. The shepherds were excited that they were drawing so many children and not so concerned about what they were feeding them. There were also kids waiting in lines for drinks and the shepherds were giving them pop. As I am having this vision I keep hearing the words, "bread and water, just give them bread and water."

The way I understand this vision is pretty simple. As shepherds (spiritual moms and dads) are we giving our kids what they want, or are we giving our kids what they need? Am I more concerned about attracting more kids than I am about making sure that I nurture and feed those who are truly hungry? Am I willing to take the time and go through the preparations of providing the nourishment of bread, or am I settling to grab something quick and easy that has been made for me? However you find yourself interpreting this vision and answering these questions may we all be encouraged to...just give them bread and water!

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35

Monday, June 20, 2011


Staying the night at the hospital with Andi tonight. A Haitian man, filled with narcotics from an intense surgery, no rest, no food or water, gonna make for an interesting night I think. :). Though the nurses are giving him great care and they are quite soft on the eyes, tonight is their work day. They are full steam ahead and loud, and I hope he can get some sleep.
Reading Matthew 12, it dawned on me for the first time... Jesus himself said anyone who does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother. That is all-inclusive, He didn't leave anybody out of that promise...IF we are doing the will of God.
Wow. Jesus and me and Andi....we're brothers!

All of the steps to surgery, from the medical visa right down to the nurse who will be watching over Andi and tending his needs, credit and kudos to the folks at Mission Haiti and all the doctors and nurses that made this happen.  Andi will be better off because of you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Race

My little girl is a horse fanatic, so much so that she even speaks their language.  She is a professional whinny-er.  Horses, she says, do not say "nay." So, while we were on vacation we thought she'd really like it if we took her to the horse races.  She made sure to bring her cowgirl hat.  We tried to tell her it's not exactly a rodeo.  A little different crowd at these kinds of things, but she didn't care.
In her mind...

Everyone, especially little girls, should be allowed to pet the horses, and it's silly that it's not just a given.
All horses win. There are no losers. They run so fast and beautiful that they all should be rewarded.
Even the trainer and official horses should get prizes for how good of a job they do, and how pretty they are.
Black and white Pintos automatically are rated #1.
The jockeys should really learn to ride better, because when they sit up like that they're just gonna fall off easier.
All betting is friendly.
They should all get treats.
No horse should be spanked, and finally, all horses should be allowed to get their picture taken, with all their other horse friends, in the Winner's Circle.

In the real world, it's hard to remember every day that we are in a race.  Each step is one step closer to a finish line, but since we don't know where or when we'll cross that line, it's easy to become distracted.  Some of us drift, some of us stop running all together, and while some are dynamite exploding out of the gate, how many really strive with the endurance for a photo finish?
Even against the odds we saw a horse come up from behind the pack, a little fella that didn't look like he'd be a sure winner, but my oh my, did he ever finish well!  He gained ground with every leap.  His footing was sure, and by the time he crossed the line, he was 3 or 4 lengths ahead of all the horses who'd been picked to win.
I want to be one who can run the race with that kind of focus.  Every leap a sure one, every muscle focused on the next big push, not wavering to the left or right, but charged as if it's Reveilee, awakened and set like flint to finish, and finish well.

At the end of his life, before he was martyred, Paul penned some amazing words in 2 Timothy:

'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.'  

It reminds me of my little girl's attitude about winning.  It's not a space reserved for one.  So long as we can keep the faith and cross the line, then no matter who has crossed over first,  we win.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Testimony - Dan Elliott

This is my story, out here, for all to peruse, analyze, scrutinize, dissect, or amen to as you read.
Why on Earth would that be something to do?  If life isn't about being real then it's not about anything at all.  There is no time for masks.  So.....where to start. How about right here:

Yesterday I was just a man.
Today I am just a man,
Tomorrow I'll be just a man.

I did fail.
I still fail.
I will fail.

I was lost.
I am found.
I ask Jesus to never let me take that for granted again. Some days, I still do.

That's me in a nutshell. Why do I always seem to write in song form? Just part of me I suppose. 

When I was a little boy I used to ask Jesus, quite often, if He was watching me. It was just something that always occupied my thoughts. I used to talk to Him because I felt He was right there.
That little boy grew up, and he almost forgot about this man named Jesus.
I got married at 19, tried college and found that a window in any classroom would captivate me. There was a world out there, and my imagination would run. I loved to write. I loved music, and I loved diving in. By the age of 23 we'd moved to Nashville to pursue that passion. While there was alot of new sound coming out of me, alot of music being written, I found out very quickly that I didn't like the idea of being on stage at all. We got caught in the middle of a whirlwind. All night parties, drinking, bars. Living paycheck to paycheck. My wife began working night shifts, and I would work during the day. Prominent men in Nashville were hitting on her, guaranteeing that my music would be put in front of the right people if she'd only sleep with them. I was going out with a group of people every night, and in the middle of one night after all the drinking, my wife was working and I went home with another woman. Up until that day, I thought I was an Oak.

By the next morning I couldn't bare the guilt, and I had to wake up my wife and speak to her the hardest words I've ever had to say in my life. She was broken, crushed, hurt, and it was all my fault. This man who promised to love her and honor her, to be true to her, had chopped off everything he ever stood for in one night.

I asked her to give me another chance, and she did. The next year and a half was hell on earth. We didn't get along. She didn't trust me. We didn't spend hardly any time together. She looked at me and couldn't help but remember the pain, and every time our eyes met I felt like a waste of a man.

I went down to Atlanta on business, and my car broke down. I didn't have any money, and I was at my end. I called home to tell my wife that I was just going to stay down there and maybe it was for the best. She began to cry, and she said, "This is not how I ever pictured telling my husband this.....I'm pregnant."

I left my truck in the middle of Atlanta and got my boss to give me a ride back to Tennessee. I came back to her, with nothing but a new focus. She didn't want to raise a baby in the middle of the chaos, and so we quit our jobs to move back home. Home to me was not home to her. Home to her was Brandon, South Dakota. When I started talking about looking for work in the coal mines of Wyoming, I got a very clear snapshot of the health of our marriage. "Me and the baby will be moving to Brandon. Wherever you go, you go."

We drove through the night, 21 hours. She was 8 months pregnant, driving a Uhaul, and I was driving my old truck. We came to rest here, in this place, as a family. We bought a house and started down a new road. I opened up a little kiosk in the mall, paying $4000 a month. People would bring me their family snapshots, tell me about their story, and I'd literally write them a poem. I'd print the collage and frame it up inside 30 minutes. It paid the rent and only the rent for the kiosk.
There were alot of pictures, alot of words.

One of the rules of the mall was that the kiosk couldn't be left unmanned. I'd sit there every day from open to close. I began to question my life during those endless hours. That day I decided that at the end of business I was going to close up the kiosk and quit. I couldn't find any purpose in what I was doing. There was a rumor of a crazy woman who'd go around making small talk, and when she finally came up to me, I gave her the courtesy of listening. I was lonely and I welcomed any interruption to the monotony. She was talking about angels, messengers, and how sometimes God uses us to be His messengers to those around him. Then she began talking as if she were listening to someone else, interpreting. She abruptly said goodbye and turned to walk away.
I said, "Wait a minute. If that's true, if we're messengers, don't you have any messages for me?" I was just seeing how far down the rabbit-hole we were going to go. Her eyes lit up and she said to me brightly, "Oh Yes! Yes! He says you're not supposed to give up. Hang in there. Don't quit." With that she walked away, still talking to herself.
My booth was right next to Santa Clause, and they were filming a commercial. A pastor was telling everyone that Christmas wasn't just about gifts and being naughty and nice, it was about Jesus Christ.

Something about that statement had an impact on me. I began to think about this man named Jesus again. I remembered the Jesus from my childhood. I wondered if He was still interested in me.

I talked my wife into going to church with me. We were sitting in the back row, on the right, and there was a supposed prophet that was visiting the church.
The prophet was praying, asking Jesus to show her who she needed to speak to. I was skeptical, and ready to leave. Bored. Bold. During the prayer I said very clearly to God,
"Here I am. Very back row, on the right. You got something to say, you know where I'm at. Say it."

The prophet immediately opened her eyes and from the altar at the front she was looking right at me.
Here were her words, exactly as she spoke them to me:

"God just visits a people.

You're not safe on the back row!

I know, ministers, not very many of them come to the back row... but
God does!

And it is good! It truly is.

Now sir, when I look at you, there's a Showin' of you, and the Holy
One speaks to me of his time with you, and how he has need of that
more than ever before. There are decisions that you're havin' to
make, even now, that will affect next year.

And so you have to know what to do, and when and how.
And the Holy Spirit will step aside with you if you'll but give him
some special time.

I see that that has not been as it could be for you and for Him.

And then sir if you will take your bible too, the Holy One has need to
show you, even scripturally, some things that you need to do. Don't
ever go to him without a tablet, a journal and a pen.

Something wonderful begins for you and for him.

Understood? Good."

As she was speaking I began to question whether or not it was really Jesus who was speaking to me. That's when she stopped and told me:

"There are so many words and pictures and sounds around you. You can
write them down, and create too. Even when you were very small, I
watch you. To say words from the heart you could do, and you would
surprise elders by what you could say and what you could do.

Do you understand that? Good.

And so now you are not a child anymore. And now you have grown into
your manhood, with responsibilities and accountabilities.

But God your father has need of you. He brought you into earth for
this time. There are things that he will share with you, and you will
lead out in them. For a leader are you and the people will follow you.

Understood? Good."

Today I am a photographer. There are many pictures around me. I've been to Haiti 3 times, telling their story through images.  Soon, my family and I will be living there.

My blog and the songs I write have spoken to a great many people in the years I've had my business. There are many words.

I never thought I'd find music again, I thought it was lost to me.
I've been blessed to be a part of a band, a ministry, called Rough Lumber. The Lord is using our real-life experiences, our hard knocks, our brokeness, to witness through the music. There are many sounds.

I have 2 kids who know Jesus. My wife is a Christian. I've been blessed to baptize every member of my family as the time became right for them to make the decision on their own to follow Christ.

We have a marriage that is every day being restored. We still do battle, we still fail. But we live for Jesus. Our family motto on the hard days brings me back to focus:

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
(Rom 14:8)

You may look at me different. You might disown me. I'm just a man. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
If you ever built me up to be someone I'm not, then today you've learned a good lesson to keep your eyes and admiration, your focus on Jesus Christ. Not on man. Not on the church. They'll never be perfect, but He is. He keeps his promises. He's been there for me and He's rescued me.

Even in this day, I have struggles. I've been blindsided and sucker-punched enough to keep you scrolling for an hour. I wrestle with the issues most men have and just don't speak about, keeping our eyes in check in a world increasingly unchecked. I wrestle with keeping my thoughts on Christ. I've battled on several fronts in my walk of faith. I will continue, only by God's grace. I will not be afraid to talk about it because He takes away my fear. Life is too short.
There's a line in the movie Shawshank Redemption, where the man comes to an epiphany about life. I agree. "We either get busy living, or we get busy dying."

Life didn't get perfect the day I came back to Jesus. That was never the promise. But I can tell you that after my failures and weaknesses, after the battles, I find my strength, my trust, my patience, my courage, my boldness, my perseverance, in Him, in His word, and in His wisdom. Even on these hard days, I will yet praise Him.  He is faithful and just.

2 Corinthians 1:4-5
He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves have received comfort from God. We share the sufferings of Christ. We also share His comfort.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


My "life philosophy" as it relates to closets is one that I share when someone is in a messy place in life. You know what I mean. We all have situations in life that are a little hairy and we may be unsure how to get to the nitty gritty and make things right again.
My old clothes closet was actually the hall closet, most likely there for hanging coats and not very big. It was unbelievable how much I could cram in that little closet. All four seasons of clothes, pajamas, undergarments, boxes of old pictures and even presents I needed to hide from the kids. I had to go through it often to find things I needed and would often find things I had forgotten I had.
One day as I was in a messy place in life and also cleaning out my closet, I realized life can be much like a closet. We cram so much into all the corners of our hearts, we fill our minds with worry, we complicate relationships, fill our time with "busyness" and so on. And eventually everything begins to come tumbling down if we even crack the door.
So sometimes we have to take time to turn the mess in our closet into a bigger mess in the hall so we can reorganize and tidy the closet again. And in life we need to take time to reorganize. Look at the "busyness" we have created, the the things that are weighing us down, the relationships that need our attention, and anything else that has us captivated and most likely is taking away from our daily intimacy with God. It may have to become a bigger mess before it gets better but if we continue to cram, the mountain is going to come down and we will be buried somewhere underneath.
God does not want us living a life crammed so full that our light has no place to shine through and no room for Him.
I challenge you today to take a look at your closet of life and make the necessary mess!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Go Make Disciples

Our very dear friends are right now jetting across the country at 30,000 feet, on their way to Haiti for the summer.  They've accepted the call to be the missionaries for Mission Haiti, a local organization that runs an orphanage and several schools in the southern village of Ti Rivier. 
It's hard, very hard to see them go, but comforting to know that the Babbs are in the hands of God.
Their kids and ours are close, so much that we can mark the days of the seasons just in sleepovers and birthday parties.  
I was with Heather on my first mission trip to New Orleans just after Katrina, and Torrey and I have been brothers through some rough and rocky travails.  God has used our families to teach one another amazing life lessons, and we have crossed paths over and over again in His plan. We both now have a strong desire for the people of Haiti.  God's plan is that we are not yet to serve together, but we're excited and hopeful for that day, knowing that if we are united in ministry, it will be because of His Will.

But for now, it's bitter sweet.  No campfires to share, no swimming, no bbq's, no fellowship.   Just the time in devotion to remember them and pray for their work there.  Kari and I both admit, we feel like our kids feel when we say goodbye. There's no proper way to keep the emotions from surfacing.  We want to hold on and not let go.  Almost like a good, strong temper tantrum and foot stomping is in order.  
Our ride home from the airport after our goodbye's was filled with ear-splitting silence.  Not a peep.  Just reflection.  In the end, we know that this is not our home and we are not our own.  Our hope is in the Lord.

And the BBQ's in Heaven are gonna be stellar!   

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.
Titus 3:14

I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.....And this is my prayer: That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:3-11